“I always knew I had it in me to make physical and physiological changes.”Article posted in: South Beach Diet
“I always knew I had it in me to make physical and physiological changes. I thought I could do it myself. South Beach Diet proved me wrong. I needed South Beach principles and focus to teach me what I should be eating for optimal success.”
On April 16, 2016, Anh Nelson turned 40, but she didn’t feel like celebrating. Two months earlier, her 5-year-old son was diagnosed with autism. A short time before that, her husband lost his job. On top of worrying about her son and wondering how she would provide for her family of four, she was overweight. “I was the heaviest I’ve ever been,” she says.
So, when South Beach Diet submitted a casting call for volunteers to give its new program a try, Anh applied. She was accepted. “I was excited but also apprehensive. I was reluctant to believe I would actually lose the weight,” she says. But Anh did lose weight—nearly 40 lbs*, in fact. “South Beach has changed how I look and feel about myself,” she says. “I have a new sense of confidence. ”
How much confidence? Enough to trade her “mommy suit” for a bikini. “My bum and hips are smaller, my stomach is flatter, my arms are stronger, and my legs look slimmer and longer,” she says. “I am mentally and physically stronger than I could ever imagine.” Before and after pictures keep Anh motivated to stick to her healthy diet. “I rarely took full body pictures or selfies of myself, but I have these last few months, and I’m amazed at the transformation,” she says.
It was also Anh’s family support system and husband’s encouragement that helped her throughout her weight loss success story. Every day, every meal, every time she didn’t feel like exercising, her husband Rick was there. “He said…‘For the next 60 days, I do not want you to cook for me unless you are making food for yourself; I want to remove all temptation,’” Anh recalls. Rick even took their son Kai to his many therapies and appointments so Anh could exercise. “I owed it to myself and to my family to succeed,” she says.
Rick has lost about 20 lbs alongside Anh as a result. “I’ve shared some of my SBD food and encouraged him to eat according to the principles,” Anh says. Even though he hasn’t exercised as religiously as Anh, she says he’s seen low carb diet success just by changing what he eats and how he thinks about food. “We eat our practice meals together on weekends,” she says. “We’re proud of each other and continue to support each other in every way that we can.”
It wasn’t quite as easy to get her extended family to understand her weight loss journey and needs. When Anh’s grandmother passed away during her second week on South Beach Diet (while she was in Phase 1), her family wanted to show love and concern through food. “It’s customary to feed sorrow and mourners,” she says. “I reminded my family that I can’t eat because of my special diet program, and they were all supportive, even though they would continually ask me to just take a bite.”
Instead of taking bites, however, Anh kept her South Beach Diet bars and shakes close by and stayed full so she wasn’t tempted. After awhile, her family got it—even her mom, who loves to cook Anh Vietnamese food. “She changed her recipes so I was able to taste her food without cheating,” she says. “She felt good that she was still able to cook for me.”
The hardest thing for Anh throughout her weight loss success story, besides turning down homemade Vietnamese food, was weighing in. “Anytime the scale went up instead of down, I got frustrated with myself,” she says. “I wasn’t sure where I went wrong.” It wasn’t long until Anh realized she was making progress towards her new lifestyle, noting that “after two months I looked at my weight log and realized that I wasn’t doing anything wrong—my body was just dealing with my new lifestyle.”
The easiest thing about South Beach Diet was its portability. “I travel for work—sometimes for an entire week,” Anh says. “I was able to pack shakes, bars and ready-to-eat pouch-meals that made staying on the program even easier.”
When she was home, Anh says daily food planning and meal prep made everything run smoothly during her weight loss success story. “When you start, it might seem time consuming, but when you get the hang of things it becomes second nature,” she says. A food scale was also helpful when she was trying to understand food portions. To get her five veggies a day, she added spinach to her smoothies, used cucumbers and jicama with hummus or peanut butter, and she put her South Beach meals over a bed of lettuce. A microwavable steamer also allowed her to cook every veggie quickly and add it to her meal.
Besides giving South Beach Diet a try, Anh’s best advice to anyone struggling to create their own weight loss success story is: “Once you start, you won’t be able to stop,” she says. On the weekends you’ll find Anh and her family camping, snowboarding or skiing, kayaking, bike riding or hitting the gym. “These are hobbies we’ve always done no matter how much I weighed, but now I have an extra sense of confidence when I do them,” she says.
To start your journey on the South Beach Diet and work towards your own weight loss success story like Anh, click here! >
*Expect to lose an avg 1-2 lbs per week. Weight lost on prior program. Casting Call volunteer, complimentary program provided.